Ökonomie: Wohlfahrtsstaaten

Alle modernen Demokratien sind gleichzeitig Wohlfahrtsstaaten. Dass Wohlfahrtsstaaten einen positiven Effekt für ihre Bevölkerung haben, gilt als gegeben. Dass Wohlfahrtsstaaten weitgehend kokurrenzlos sind, ist fast schon Aussage, der man nur widersprechen kann, wenn man als Häretiker gelten will.

James Bartholomew macht sich nichts aus Bezeichnungen wie “Häretiker”. Er analysiert und kritisiert Wohlfahrtsstaaten, zeichnet Entwicklungen und Fehlentwicklungen nach und hat gerade wieder ein Bestandsaufnahme der Leistungsfähigkeit und Leistungsprobleme von Wohlfahrtsstaaten und zwar unter dem Titel “The Welfare of Nations” veröffentlicht.

Darin findet sich ein Kapitel, das mit “Groundhog Day – but not everywhere: themes and contrasts” überschrieben ist und das eine Zusammenstellung von Gemeinsamkeiten und Unterschiede westlicher Wohlfahrtsstaaten umfasst, die alleine schon lesenswert ist:

Around the Welfare States of the world, the same problems and phenomena appear again and again. But there are also huge contrasts. Every country that is economically advanced and democratic has a welfare state. There are no exceptions.

Many government have problems paying for pensions which are not funded. Only a few have avoided the trap, notably Singapore.

Many countries have semi-permanent high levels of unemployment. But there are exceptions such as Switzerland and Singapore.

Most countries have more births outside of marriage than in previous generations. In Sweden, well over half children are born out of wedlock and in Iceland, two out of three. But in Japan only one out of fifty is and, in South Korea, one in sixty-sic.

Social housing is a big feature of the welfare states in Austria, France and the Netherlands. But it is minor in Norway and Germany.

All welfare states have government schooling, but, in some East Asian countries, massive private education systems have grown up alongside.

All the welfare states of the advanced world have some government healthcare. But some, like Australia and France, have big private healthcare sectors too.

Many welfare states embraced care for the elderly in institutions but then found it was getting too expensive and have started encouraging more of the elderly to stay at home. In Spain and Portugal it is commonplace for widowed elderly parents to live with their children as in earlier generations. In other countries like Denmark, it has almost completely died out” (Bartolomew, The Welfare of Nations, pp.319).